Divvy up your 2014 theater visits with this movie-a-month guide, starting with computer love and running straight through to a nouveau hard knock life.
Release Date: January 10th
The most remarkable aspect of Spike Jonze‘s most-talked-about movie is its core of unremarkability. Yes, there’s a clinical mystery to the vaguely futuristic Los Angeles setting, and his cast, led by Joaquin Phoenix as a dejected writer of pre-fab love letters, cuts a fanciful view of the creative class. But the accuracy with which Jonze nails the spirit of new romance is so eerie that it’s easy to forget he’s chronicling a relationship between a man and a charismatic operating system (Scarlett Johansson). Those who look at Her as a commentary on our relationship with technology are missing the point. It’s a movie about humans, and a daring, touching one at that.
The Monuments Men
Release Date: February 7th
Ain’t no party like a George Clooney party ’cause a George Clooney party features handsome historical revisionism! Cloondog’s latest, an adaptation of Robert M. Edsel‘s book about a small squad of Allies tasked with preserving Europe’s historical and artistic treasures amid the destruction of World War II, was pushed beyond the competitive holiday season in the hopes of making more noise in early 2014.
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Release Date: March 7th
Sounds a little silly to say considering how light most of his work is, but is there a more stratifying contemporary American director than Wes Anderson? Moviegoers either gush over his auteuristic quirks and knack for matching actors with roles, or hate his films for their trust-fund smugness and narrow worldviews. His latest, a comedic murder mystery starring Ralph Fiennes as an elite European concierge, looks like it was shot through a molly-powered kaleidoscope.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Release Date: April 4th
Wolverine, Thor and Iron Man get all the love, but I’m of the mind that Captain America, as he’s portrayed by the self-deprecating Chris Evans, is the most underrated cinematic superhero working today. The Winter Soldier will pluck Cap out of jingo mode and place him in the center of an international spy conspiracy. Particularly excited about checking out Anthony Mackie‘s portrayal of Falcon, an old-school Marvel hero who’s never been committed to screen before.
Release Date: May 16th
Now that we’ve had more than 15 years to forget that last Godzilla — the one with the aneurysm-inducing Diddy/Jimmy Page song — we’re finally ready for a new take on everyone’s least favorite giant lizard. Director Gareth Edwards‘ 2010 Monsters proved he could do a lot with a little — eager to see what he can accomplish with a big-ass budget and an interesting cast (Bryan Cranston, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, Juliette Binoche, Ken Watanabe).
Release Date: June 20th
The hit Four Seasons jukebox stage musical is finally coming to the big screen — thanks to Clint Eastwood? Not the most likely director-project fit, to be sure, but it certainly sounds intriguing. Secretly hoping Frankie Valli, who will be portrayed by Tony-winning Broadway star John Lloyd Young, ends up blowing away everyone who speaks ill of “Rag Doll” with a .44 Magnum.
Magic in the Moonlight
Release Date: July 25th
There isn’t much info out there just yet about Woody Allen‘s followup to the acclaimed Blue Jasmine, other than it’s about an Englishman (Colin Firth) imported to southern France at the height of the Jazz Age “to help unmask a possible swindle.” Magic will also star Emma Stone, Marcia Gay Harden, Hamish Linklater and Jacki Weaver.
Get On Up
Release Date: August 1st
With Get On Up, Chadwick Boseman, who earned excellent reviews for his portrayal of Jackie Robinson in 42, takes on the huge challenge of channeling another American legend: The Godfather of Soul. This project has been kicking around forever, so long that actors like Wesley Snipes and Eddie Murphy were once rumored for the James Brown role. Check out the sneak peek of the staging of “Sex Machine” above before it gets ripped off YouTube.
Laika, which has released excellent animated winners like Coraline and ParaNorman, are following up on those hits with this incredible-looking stop-motion endeavor, featuring the voices of Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Ben Kingsley, Toni Collette and Elle Fanning.
Release Date: October 3rd
David Fincher is the dark mind behind the movie version of Gillian Flynn‘s bestseller, concerning the complex dealings between a husband (Ben Affleck) and his missing wife (Rosamund Pike). The usually comedic Neil Patrick Harris, who calls Fincher his favorite director, is taking a dramatic swing as the ex-boyfriend of Pike’s character.
Release Date: November 7th
What the hell is Christopher Nolan‘s first post-Batman feature about? Details are nonexistent, but from this teaser trailer, it’s easy to surmise that it’s about space, corn, Matthew McConaughey and corn. Totally in.
Release Date: December 26th
It’s not like the public has been clamoring for a revamp of Annie, one of the more persistently insufferable Broadway hits that’s been tonally boxing our ears for the past 30+ years, but this direction sounds intriguing. This time, the plucky little orphan will be played by Oscar nominee Quvenzhané Wallis, with Jamie Foxx stepping in as Daddy Warbucks and Cameron Diaz playing the despicable Miss Hannigan. Director Will Gluck‘s charming Easy A won’t have much in common with this production, but it’s reassuring that he knows better than to squander a talented female lead.
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